The word on the bush telegraph is that people are moving to our fine region because it has a beautiful community, thriving food and wine scene and wide open spaces where kids can roam like chooks in a paddock. As locals and parents, we’re here to confirm it’s true. Whether man-made (think trampoline parks, netball and basketball courts) or sculpted by nature (hello waterfalls, lakes and rivers), Orange has stacks of activities to offer kids of all ages. Here are our top six best family activities in Orange:

1. Lake Canobolas

Less than a 10-minute drive from the centre of Orange, Lake Canobolas has two small playgrounds on each side of the small bridge that spans the lake. There’s also a small “beach” where the kids can play and cool their feet off on a hot summer’s day, while those feeling more active can walk around the entire lake (it’ll take you about 30 minutes, depending on who you’re walking with).The lake is postcard-pretty any season and now that the team from local café Anything Grows are running the Lake Kiosk, you can grab a range of scrumptious takeaway (we highly recommend the burgers and generously portioned fish and chips).

2. Farmers Market

We’re not sure about you, but we like our kidlets to have a growing understanding of how farmers make the world go around and are the heroes of our national food bowl. Staged in two different locations in the heart of Orange every month, the Markets are a chance to meet your local grower, shop and eat local. From bread and pastries to extra virgin olive oil and wine, there’s plenty to enjoy and the knowledgeable producers are always happy to tell you more about what they do and grow. Hint: If you head to Carbeen Pastured Produce’s stall, your kids might enjoy a chat with young Charlie, who tends the family’s tasty oyster mushrooms.

3. Botanical Gardens

Feel the need to let your kids run wild and exhaust them so they’ll go to bed early? Head to the magnificent Botanical Gardens – just take Hill Street out of town and follow the signs.

Park in the car park of the Adventure Playground, a veritable kid’s dream with lots of timber play equipment to hide in or slide down. If the playground is a bit hectic and you’d prefer some quiet, park at the top entrance of the Gardens (in Roselawn Drive), enter the gate and simply roam the 17 hectares of native goodness inside (we promise that the kids will never find the Playground from this neck of the woods, either!). You’ll find cool sculptures, a hedged maze, a small lake and, just nearby, a small “island” where our kids like to build forts and swing off the tree branches. A perfect (child exhausting) afternoon or morning in the making!

Take the family to the Botanic Gardens
Heifer Station, one of our favourite family activities.

4. Heifer Station

Just past Lake Canobolas at bucolic Borenore, on the slopes of Mount Canobolas, you’ll find Heifer Station. Orange has a plethora of excellent cellar doors that are kid-friendly but Heifer Station has an extra feather in its Akubra: an animal farm. Mums and dads can sit at a shaded outdoor table or on a hay bale and have uninterrupted conversation as the kids take time out to pet the animals at the “Funny Farm”, including Tilly the Shetland pony, pigs and chickens. We recommend booking ahead. Heifer Station is wheel chair friendly and you can even bring your pooch, as long as it’s on a lead. Check out more on their website.

5. Gosling Creek

For car-free bike action, Gosling Creek is the deal. You’ll find the turnoff and car park just five minutes out of town, just past the local hospital. There are ample paved bike paths for the kids to raise hell (we mean enjoy themselves safely), and some good straight stretches if you’re teaching them to ride. When they tire of their tyres, there are a few climbing play stations for them to enjoy. Note: There is no coffee vendor here so we recommend grabbing one in town if you need to refuel. It’s a great spot to take a picnic – you can sit at a table and keep one eye on the kids while you take in the scenic creek vista.

Spend the day at Gosling Creek Reserve with the family!
Go bowling with the kids!

6. Orange Tenpin Bowl

Let’s face it, after a few outdoor activities, the kids might be craving some time indoors. Rest assured, we’re not talking screen time. We’re talking a lane at the Tenpin! Parents will love Orange Tenpin Bowl as much as the kids: from its retro carpet to disco lighting, it’s all about nostalgia and making memories. Get the kids fitted in their protective shoes, choose their player names, grab a lane and off you go. Hint: Save a few gold coins for after the bowling game to feed the machines in the arcade game area. You could also step into the photo booth to make those memories last!

Notable Mentions

We also recommend a quick trip to some of the pretty villages that are peppered around the Orange district. Millthorpe, Canowindra and Molong are just a few – all under a one hour drive and unique in historic architecture, public facilities and country charm. Hint: After your day trip, don’t let the kids doze off in the car on the way ‘home’ to Orange. That way you can put them to bed early and enjoy one of the region’s famous cool-climate wines.

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